On September 25, the European Commission published its long-anticipated proposal for a revision of the directive 97/68/EC covering exhaust emissions reduction for engines installed in non-road mobile machinery, setting standards for construction equipment and other machinery that are the strictest in the world.
In the construction equipment sector the regulation applies to a wide variety of machines – from hand-held equipment to the largest mining machine – used to erect houses, build infrastructure, operate quarries and provide emergency relief when natural disaster strikes.
The key elements of the regulation for the sector are:
- Introductory dates of 2019 to 2020;
- Limit values that will reduce emissions to extremely low levels;
- An unprecedented rate of introduction across the entire power range of equipment, irrespective of combustion cycle and fuel.
“We welcome that highly-essential requirements are met, such as a predictable introduction pace and emission limits that acknowledge the vast technological progress made in the industry,” announces Eric Lepine, President of CECE (the European Committee for Construction Equipment) and Managing Director of Caterpillar France. “But the proposal certainly needs further studying and refining, in particular with regard to further provisions for replacement engines and the concerns of niche equipment manufacturers.”
Lepine emphasizes that the construction equipment industry is working hard to provide its customers with machines offering the highest productivity and lowest environmental impact.
However, delivering the next generation of machines to the market in time will remain a complex challenge. “Product cycles are long and product diversity is huge, putting a tremendous strain on development time,” says Lepine. The sector calls on the European Parliament and Council to facilitate a swift reading of the proposal, in order to secure sufficient lead-time ahead of the legislation entering into force.
Need for global alignment
The European construction equipment manufacturers – many of them niche producers or SMEs – already produce the cleanest and safest machinery in the world. They need economy of scale to stay competitive in a global environment and maintain profitable manufacturing sites in Europe.
“The global market for highly-regulated products is in comparative terms quite small. Europe cannot afford to deviate too much from requirements in other ambitious nations in this field,” says Lepine. “We urge the EU to maintain alignment in standards and limits with other regions, notably with the U.S., and actively promote worldwide alignment.”